Negativity is empowering, isn’t it? Or is that just what we here at the Popblerd offices are telling ourselves so we can feel better for making this list?
There’s already been some pretty hearty discussion about a few of the artists that made this list. Personally, I don’t think the Eagles are so bad (and if you don’t sing along with “Hotel California” when it comes on the radio, you don’t have a pulse.) It’s not my place to say whether some of our voters are confusing the shittiness of an artist’s music with the fact that they just appear to be reprehensible people (hello, Don Henley) but, again, it’s not my place to say. All I can say is that I like The Eagles, dammit. And Lady GaGa. And Madonna. And some of the artists who appear in the top 10.
At any rate, slide right into the Top 10 and see who made the upper echelon of suckitude.
…and I can’t believe no one voted for Chris Brown.
10. Katy Perry
When I think about Katy Perry, I can’t honestly think of a single reason to like her or her music. She’s responsible for some of the most obnoxious (and annoyingly catchy) songs of the past few years, she’s nearly 30 years old, but dresses up like Princess Lolly from Candyland, and she co-writes with a team of at least five other people just to think up lines like, “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?”. No, I don’t ever feel like an inanimate piece of plastic, but thanks for asking.
I don’t get the appeal of Perry or her music, especially since she has little vocal talent, or even a likable public persona. Britney Spears could get away with years of poorly sung pop songs, but at least said songs weren’t terribly annoying and/or borderline offensive (I’m looking at you, “I Kissed A Girl”), and she was still someone most people liked and rooted for even after she went crazy. Perry seems every bit as manufactured and shallow as her asinine songs. And I’m still mad at the fact that she managed to date John Mayer while he’s continued to ignore all my tweets and fan letters (but I’m mostly mad because of her awful music, I swear!). (Brittany)
9. Justin Bieber
I have no aversion to teen pop. After all, I was a teenager once. My record shelves contain the works of Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and New Kids on the Block. You might even find a little BSB, Nsync and Xtina in there. At some point, I might not have considered Justin Bieber to be particularly harmless. He seemed self-effacing enough, and he impressed me by playing guitar and drums in addition to singing. I may even have three or so Bieber songs in my iTunes library (if it saves me any grief, one features Kanye West and Raekwon, the other features Drake.)
In the last six months to a year or so, Bieber has become profoundly annoying, as much for his music as for his personality. The dropping of his balls has apparently coincided with an unappealing slather of cultural appropriation and a sense of entitlement that appears to be growing to gigantic proportions. Did I hear this little motherfucker complain about his “art” not being properly respected at an awards show? Who gassed you up, Sun? “Baby, baby, baby, ohhhh…” does not constitute art. It does, however, constitute the chorus of one of your biggest hits. It also (in slightly inverted form) provide the punchline to a commercial which mocks some dude for listening to boy band lyrics.
You’re winning awards; you’re selling records; you’re able to swing any girl (below the age of 20 or so) you want. Enjoy that shit, dude. Because the wave might be high right now…but eventually that joint’s gonna crash. HARD. (Big Money)
8. Avril Lavigne
“Hey, hey, you, you, I don’t like” anything you’ve become after Let Go, maybe even Under My Skin, but that’s pushing it. Yes, Avril Lavigne, as a pre-teen, songs like “Sk8ter Boi” and “Complicated” were my life anthems, but as soon as you went bleach blonde and started getting whiny, I was over it as fast as I learned good music and got into Green Day. When the edgy, black, punk clothes turned into pink hair, preppy clothes, and tiaras, my musical tastes thankfully changed and like I was over the “fake” girls in school, I was over you. I don’t even think I’ve heard anything you’ve done since 2008 and , because I literally stopped caring. You may have been a good musician at one point, but now.. yikes. And you’re engaged to Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, which just seems incredibly ironic. (Cassandra)
One might ask, “why is Bush here?”, and that’s fair. After all, they have a cadre of rock hits that still gets played on alternative radio; they’ve got a fair enough cache in the business, and a couple of moderately respected albums. Then again, the radio still plays Stone Temple Pilots, so argument invalidated. Fact remains, Bush weren’t so much their own band as a piece of a movement that sought to regurgitate and replay the grunge/alternative/Seattle explosion of the early ’90s. It’s a pool that’s been watered down significantly over the years — compared to modern-day descendents like Nickelback, Hinder, Theory of a Deadman, and the like, Bush may as well be The Stones — but as pioneers in the field of aggressively mediocre, monotonous alt-rock, they deserve to be punished for what they’ve perpetrated. (Drew)
6. Big & Rich
Big and Rich showed much promise when Horse of a Different Color was unleashed in 2004, but it has been a rapid slide downhill ever since. Comin’ to Your City was a half-hearted attempt at replicating their debut’s success, and Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace would have been forgettable if it had not been for “Lost in This Moment,” a schmaltzy wedding song that briefly crossed to Adult Contemporary. 2012’s Hillbilly Jedi was just as bad as you would expect from its title (with the exception of “Cheat on You”), but their posse has fled town. So much promise drowned out by so much cheesy disappointment. (John H.)
What’s worse than a bad band? A decent band recording crappy songs. “Drops of Jupiter” was a quality tune, but the promise that Train showed early on was drowned out by cliché-laden songs that don’t have much to say other than “hey, aren’t we clever?” No. The band is best when they stick to storytelling without gimmicks, but that is the exception to the rule these days. Songs like “Hey Soul Sister” should be novelties, but instead they’ve become the core of their existence on the pop charts. The only thing they’re missing now is a Pitbull cameo, but don’t put that past them. (John H.)
4. Maroon 5
There was a period in the mid-aughts when Maroon 5 was a breath of fresh air on the pop music landscape: a group of five guys featuring a dynamic vocalist that played traditional guitar pop that was slick enough to cross over to the dance-heavy pop charts, but also lovingly worshipped at the altar of its soulful influences like Stevie Wonder and Hall & Oates.
But before too long, front man Adam Levine started taking photos like this. And doing interviews like this. And generally doing anything and everything he could to wrestle the title of “most self-absorbed douchebag in the music industry” away from John Mayer. I’m not sure whether Levine officially supplanted Mayer when he became a celebrity judge on NBC’s The Voice, or if it was when he made a music video in which he pretended to be a stud boxer, but Levine now unquestionably stands alone as King Douche.
But it’s not Levine’s douchebaggery that lands Maroon 5 on this list. It’s songs like “Moves Like Jagger,” and the other hyper-compressed, uncreative dance-floor dung that followed on their 2012 LP Overexposed. Like the Black Eyed Peas before them, Maroon 5 showed great promise, creativity, and even some artistry on their first release, only to subsequently take a big shit on what made them unique in the first place and, like an aging wide receiver who signs with a bottom-feeding team to get as much money as he can on that last big contract, homogenize and water down their sound to the point where it is indistinguishable from anything else on the charts in order to make as much ca$h as possible, simultaneously rendering themselves unlistenably bad and completely non-credible.
Good lookin’ out, Maroon 5. And thank you for your many musical contributions. (Michael C.)
3. Lil Wayne
There was a time, a decade or so ago, when I thought Lil Wayne would be a complete non-factor in the annals of hip-hop. Boy, was I wrong. Initially just a tattoo or four away from the likes of Kris Kross (or their potty-mouthed compatriots Illegal,) The Man Who Would Be Weezy was strictly a Southern phenomenon, destined to go the way of the No Limit Tank. Then…well, I don’t know what the fuck happened, but someone somewhere anointed Mr. Carter “the greatest rapper alive,” and that shit stuck. Never mind the fact that Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-ONE, Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, Ras Kass, Ghostface Killah, Lauryn Hill, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Sadat X, Black Thought, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Ludacris, T.I., Scarface, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Chuck D., Redman, 8/9 of the Wu-Tang Clan, Big Boi, Andre 3000, Cee-Lo Green, Phonte, Common and my momma are all still capable of taking breaths-Wayne was exalted as “the chosen one” and his albums started selling a million copies a week. As a hip-hop snob, this is wrong on about 8 million different levels. C’mon, son! Weezy is barely a step above Noreaga when it comes to rhyme skills! What are people thinking these days? Even his magnum opus, Tha Carter III, was only tolerable thanks to one killer beat (“A Milli”), the production skills of Kanye West, and a guest appearance from Robin Thicke (who has inexplicably made several records with the diminutive alien.) Hell, the artists Wayne has spawned make better records than he does. If there’s one artist whose recent success completely baffles me, it’s Lil Wayne. Someone explain him to me. Oh wait, someone did-and I still don’t get it! (Big Money)
2. Kid Rock
Kid Rock is a special kind of terrible. He’s not merely a garden-variety bad artist; he’s an artist that you can safely listen to and think to yourself, “I don’t think I’ll ever get along with any of this guy’s fans.” Fandom of Kid Rock implies many things, depending on which point in his career you gravitate towards — perhaps you like rap music, but would find it a lot more palatable coming from a Confederate hillbilly. Or maybe you like country music, but feel the trailer-park demographic is underrepresented. Or maybe you just like classic rock, but find the Bob Segers of this world a little pretentious. Kid Rock wears many musical hats; unfortunately, none of them fit, and they all look like they smell awful. (Drew)
Well, well. It’s Ke$ha with that number one spot. Rather than write a sensical paragraph as to why I believe Ke$ha is deserving of the top spot on the worst list, I’m just going to write a list of things that bother me about her both musically and otherwise. And this is from someone who doesn’t mind “Tik Tok” all that much. Well, except that “Ohhhh, ohhhh, oh, ohhhhhohhhhhh” part.
1. She looks like she hasn’t bathed in months and her middle name may very well be “Grime”.
2. She sounded like a copycat Lady Gaga when Gaga had barely surfaced. At least bite someone who isn’t also new.
3. Either sing (she can’t, at least very well) or rap (she can’t). The sing songy wannabe rap stuff doesn’t work no matter how much Auto tune is used.
4. Speaking of “Tik Tok”, she rhymed swagger with Mick Jagger. That’s a hate-able offense.
5. How can a trashy young girl who grew up on food stamps wake up feeling like P. Diddy?
6. She braided just the side of her hair.
7. She was on The Simple Life with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in 2005.
8. She performed the hook on Flo Rida’s Right Round. And Flo Rida would’ve very well been on this list if we cared about him at all.
9. She released “Animal”. She then released “Animal + Cannibal”. And then she released “Cannibal” all in the same year! Talk about getting the most out of your audience.
10. She’s released an autobiography (which was illustrated) and a TV documentary series that no one is watching all in the last six months, after barely having a cup of coffee in the industry. If only Surreal Life was still around, she’d be the first artist to have a hit record and be on that C-listers show in the same year.
While some find Ke$ha harmless (and I can see that), she’s really an amalgamation of everything that’s wrong with music and pop culture. I just hope she saves her money and doesn’t have children.